The main trends for the coming years are increasing attention to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), achieving further increases in market share and supermarket concentration and increasing importance of ICT and e-commerce. Preconditions for a good position on the market are sustainably cultivated and transported flowers. Although there is only limited economic growth in the major markets in North-western Europe, demand in the Central and Eastern European markets is expected to grow.
The European fresh fruit and vegetables sector is a dynamic world full of opportunities. However, it is also a complex and highly professional world, with requirements and expectations you will need to comply with to be successful. These tips for exporters from developing countries will help you prepare yourself for doing business in Europe.
For over half a century, the European Union (EU) has brought political stability and economic prosperity to its citizens. It has created a frontier-free single market and a single currency, the euro. It has reunited a fractured continent. Europe as a whole is a major economic and commercial power and the world’s largest donor of development aid to poorer countries. EU membership has grown from six to 27 nations; combined with the four EFTA countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) this brings the total population of Europe to over half a billion.
Fresh exotic tropical fruits are mostly grown in developing countries and are still considered niche products in Europe. Prices are generally high, often due to low volumes and necessary air transport. Communicating the health benefits of tropical fruit can help increase demand. Purple passion fruit is a tropical fruit that is becoming more popular. This product factsheet covers a number of exotic tropical fruits, mainly tamarinds, cashew apples, lychees, jackfruit, sapodillo plums, passion fruit, carambola and pitahaya.
The European market for fresh rambutan is dominated by ethnic Asian consumers and specialty fruits and vegetables stores. Demand for specialty fruits is rising in many European countries, providing opportunities for exporters from developing countries.
The European market for exotic roots and tubers is small but growing. Cassava and yams are the biggest sellers. Volumes of taro, yautia or malanga and other roots that are less well known in the European market, are still very small. The main market are ethnic food shops and restaurants, but increasing interest in exotic vegetables and stimulating consumer awareness of the culinary possibilities can help develop the market channels for exotic roots and tubers.
The European Union (EU) is a net importer of fresh pomegranates. In 2014, 42 thousand tonnes of pomegranates (imports minus exports) were added to the apparent consumption of pomegranates in the EU, in addition to the volume produced locally. Pomegranates are a luxury fruit that sells well in a higher segment. The demand for more exotic and healthy fruit can help increase profitability for exporters from developing countries.
Imports of fresh berries into the European market from developing countries have doubled over the past five years. Berries are increasingly offered as a convenient and healthy snack, seducing shoppers into buying them. Although many berries are grown in Europe itself, demand is much higher than European production and imports from developing countries are filling in the gap.
Pomelos are imported via the same ports in Europe as other fruit, most notably in the Netherlands. The supply per country varies depending on production volume and the demand in the producing country. Fresh pomelos are a niche market in most European markets. Eastern and Central Europe has a steady demand for fresh pomelos, while opportunities in Western Europe can be triggered by active promotion and excellent taste.